A quarter of drivers in the UK, the equivalent of ten million people, admitted to illegally making or receiving calls while driving in 2018*. This startling statistic is being highlighted by Midlands Air Ambulance Charity as part of the service’s Drive4Life campaign.
The campaign has been launched in order to raise driver’s awareness of the risks and pitfalls that result in a serious incident on the road, due to road traffic collisions costing the charity £1.68 million last year.
Among all drivers, shockingly four in ten admit to checking social media messages, texts or emails when they are in control of a vehicle, but not moving, such as when they are at traffic lights or sat in congestion, up from 38 per cent in 2017.
Midlands Air Ambulance Charity’s corporate partner, TTC Group, which runs speed awareness courses across the UK, suggests drivers enable their mobile’s ‘do not disturb’ feature, so they aren’t distracted or tempted when at the wheel.
Andy Wheeler, head of technical delivery at TTC Group, said: “Driving requires your full attention and anything that diverts your attention away from the road is a distraction, has a detrimental effect on driving performance and can lead to an on-road incident.
“Texting, making and receiving calls or livestreaming while driving is a serious and growing threat. Our advice is simple – switch your phone off and don’t take it out until you have reached your destination and it is safe to do so.”
Midlands Air Ambulance Charity’s Drive4Life campaign in partnership with longstanding corporate partner, M6toll, is highlighting the cost of attending RTCs to the charity. Each air ambulance mission costs £2,500, which is funded through the generosity of the communities it serves and local businesses.
Emma Gray, fundraising and marketing director for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, added: “It’s disappointing that so many drivers are still using their mobile phone when in control of a car. Last year, we attended 672 RTCs, which cost the charity £1.68 million. A significant number of motorists seem to under-estimate the dangers of just sending a quick text or making a call, however based on the severity of some of the missions that our teams attend, it is important to remember that a few seconds of distraction can result in a life-altering incident.”
James Hodson, M6toll director of motorway operations and facilities, said: “Even on a smooth and free-flowing road like M6toll, conditions can change in an instant, so it is never safe to use your mobile phone while driving. We always advise people to wait until it is safe, such as taking a break at Roadchef Norton Canes service station on the M6toll.”
*Taken from research for RAC Report on Motoring 2018.